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Book Review: Trips Climbs Circles

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Trips Climbs Circles
Author: Madhu Sriwastav
Authors Press
First published in 2020
ISBN: 978-93-89824-84-1
Price: Rs. 295

Trips, climbs, and circles? Yes, this is exactly what our poet invites our readers to. The new poetry book titled Trips Climbs Circles by academician and poet Madhu Sriwastav, promises in plenty. When it comes to an interpretation of some of the finest, multifaceted channels of poetic realm, we find how Madhu excels with ease. While composing poetic frame across the deeper, nuanced recesses of the human mind, and penetrating deeper into the aspects of human life in general and in particular, Madhu’s poems in Indian English leave an aftertaste of both ‘desperate rain’, ‘moon delight’ and ‘restraint’ among the readers. She is not just a poet, but a consummate artist who can pen down the soft flow of light and shade under the vast canopy of her poetic sky:

“I breathed your odour like morning bloom,
You contained me as pea in pod…
My heart raced fast, mind in a daze
I cling to you as last leave to tree in storm…” (Engulfed by Love)

This is the sheer vitality of her poems. With simple, household pictures and similes that talk about morning blossoms and pea enclosed in a pod, the poem talks about the enigma called love, in an exploration to find one’s own self.

The poet ruminates, she ruminates across the dismal times, the desperate swashbuckling of the torrential rain, gravestones, down memory lane, moon delights, riverside, modern ways, phones, brides and city dawns. Reading Madhu’s poems are like discovering the world with a kaleidoscope and finding a splash of colours that leave an indelible imprint on the mind of the readers. For instance, in the poem Death of a House, she writes:

“Round the bend of the land
Rounded walls of the house stood naked!
It’s balcony which seated sunshine
Was removed to bare its windows…”

So, tripping, climbing, moving in meandering motion across the bend of the land, discovering the death of a house where once the balcony was washed by the effulgence of the sun. The poems have a definite rhythm of their own, verging on categories often, retelling rhymes and tones that are stark, simple, necessary, more often than not, far away from being too superficial. It is a study in images, in symbols that sustain her breath through the poetic air.

Some of the major poems in the anthology deal with themes related to human relationships, body, growth, the concept of a gracious man, gravestones, nuptial knots and even an orderly universe. The poet also talks about moments tripping, climbing and circling in love and loss, in city lights, in small delights of the life, and even in the most expected moments of life.

Madhu’s poems talk about a constant journey. The motifs are fascinating, ranging from sky, lands, birds, circles, trips, smiles, rolling and darkness. It is a delightful read for those who are especially interested to savour the delight of modern Indian English poetry. The book is published from Authors Press and is priced at Rs. 295.

Reviewer Details: Sreetanwi Chakraborty is an Assistant Professor in Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University Kolkata. She is also the Chief Editor of a bilingual biannual journal Litinfinite. She was a former lecturer of English at Salesian College, Siliguri and Sonada. Her areas of interest include gender studies, Indian English poetry, Diaspora studies and Indian English drama and theatre.